Usually when I blog, I try to make sure that I am not divisive in anything that I say because I don't want to offend anyone. I realize that I have many different people who may read what I have to say, but today, I want to use my platform to lend my voice to the Black Lives Matter movement so that there is no confusion on where I stand.
I recently read a Facebook post from one of my Facebook friends that said 'Black Lives Matter and All Lives Matter' in the same sentence. That sentence plays it safe and ensures that no one is offended or made to feel uncomfortable. It's meant to include everyone, not realizing that one statement cancels the other statement out. We wouldn't have to be screaming Black Lives Matter if all lives truly mattered. We are not diminishing the fact that everyone's life is important, we are just shining the light on the fact that Black Lives are just as important as everyone else's. Imagine someone is giving you a birthday party...and everyone starts singing Happy Birthday to you...but then the celebration is interrupting by someone screaming, "I have a birthday too!!" Of course everyone has a birthday, but at the time, the focus isn't on other birthdays...we have to deal with the birthday at hand.
To my friends who may be reading this who are not black, please hear my heart. We aren't blaming every white person or every police officer for the state of affairs today. We also realize that some of you may have had to struggle and work hard to get where you are, no one is doubting that. But you also have to realize that the color of your skin was not a barrier to getting you where you are. No one in a position of power has ever looked at you without knowing anything about you and decided that you were a threat. No one has ever accused you of being "an angry white man/woman" simply because you are voicing your opinion "passionately", or asking for the same rights as everyone else. You haven't had to "code switch" while at work so you wouldn't be looked at differently. (If you don't know what that is...I suggest you look it up.) You've never had to check your sons before they walk out the door to see what they have on to determine if they look threatening. You haven't had to talk to your children about how to respond if they get pulled over by police while driving or even walking for that matter. My oldest son was actually followed and stopped when he was just out of high school because he was driving a Mustang in an all white neighborhood while taking a friend home. He was questioned about why he was in the neighborhood...as if he was committing or about to commit a crime. Had his friend not spoken up to say they lived in the neighborhood, I don't know what the outcome of that traffic stop would have been.
So it's not enough to say that you aren't racist. We need you to be anti racist. You are in places where none of us will ever be. People that look like you, feel comfortable making racist jokes and remarks and share racist ideologies in your presence and you may think you are in the clear because you don't do those things. But we need your voice to speak up and check these people at every given opportunity. If you are truly not racist, you should have no problem in correcting the behavior of your close friends and family. That's what we need from you. Research to find ways to help change the dynamic of the world. If you weren't educated on race issues, now is the time to get educated, and to educate your children. Teach them that all black people aren't out to steal, kill and destroy because we are not your enemy. Have these hard conversations with your family...because we have to have hard conversations with our families EVERYDAY in order to ensure they come home safely. Until Black Lives actually matter to you...All lives DON'T!!!